The outbreak of the Great War saw the rapid expansion of marine forces into division size units. Drawing on Seebataillon reservists and conscripts, the naval infantry brigade under Generalmajor von Wiechmann grew into the Marine Division; an additional Marine Division was formed in November 1914. These two divisions formed Marine-Korps-Flandern (Naval Corps Flanders) under Admiral Ludwig von Schröder (known in Germany as the "Lion of Flanders"). In early February 1917 a third Marine Division was organized thus giving the naval infantry corps a strength of 70,000 men.
Marine units fought in 1914 at Tsingtao and Antwerp, in 1915 at Ypres, in 1916 on the Somme, in 1917 in Flanders and during the 1918 offensive battles in northern France.
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